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Editor's Letter




“Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold.”

I think I first learned those lyrics at a Brownie Scouts meeting circa 1962, but they ring true.

Once a year on the first weekend in June, I return to “The Mountain” to spend time with former classmates at St. Andrew’s School--now St. Andrew’s- Sewanee School--an Episcopal boarding school in Sewanee, TN. It’s a weekend full of hugs, hikes to Piney Point, swimming at the res, music, catching up, storytelling, reminiscing, teasing, laughter and the massive bonfire that brings each night to an end. The senior yearbook photos that grace our nametags are reminders of the way were.

When I’m there, I’m immediately transported to the time and place where I showed up a total stranger and found “my people.”

In the early 1970’s the school was at a crossroads. The monks from the Order of the Holy Cross who founded the boys’ school at St. Andrew’s in 1905 returned to Hyde Park, NY; the new board of trustees began admitting female students a few at a time; students from other countries and from states outside the southeast diversified the student body; programs based in Tuskegeee, AL and in Winston-Salem, NC made the school the most integrated one I have ever attended. We turned the traditional Episcopal liturgy into a lively celebration featuring joyful voices, a drum set and electric guitars--including yours truly, a barely competent soprano and a not terribly talented but enthusiastic wielder of the tambourine.

Looking back, all those transitions were, for the most part, peaceful. The center held. And it still does. The seeds of the person I am now took root there. I had the opportunity to stretch academically and creatively in a place that encouraged authenticity, accepted eccentricity and valued both the individual and the community. I left there feeling ready to take on the world--or at least college.

Gay 

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